Saturday, July 29, 2017

True facts about Switzerland

The Swiss National Day is only just over a century old, and it was not until 1993 that the hardworking Swiss agreed that they could all take the day off, but the event it commemorates took place 700 years ago, and at the heart of the celebrations is a custom which doubtless goes back into the mists of time.

The day was chosen because August 1st, 1291 was the date on which three Alpine cantons swore the oath of confederation, an act which later came to be regarded as the foundation of Switzerland. The representatives of Schwyz, Unterwalden and Uri met on the Rütli field, high above Lake Lucerne, to swear a bond of brotherhood, and agree to act jointly if their freedoms were threatened by outside aggressors.


Switzerland's National Day is right around the corner, so here are some true facts about this little country famous for its stability, safety and high quality standards:

- The very first Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Jean Henri Dunant, a Swiss, in 1901. He is the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Sixteen people from Switzerland have won the Nobel Prize in various fields.
- Since 1815, Switzerland has not been involved in any military conflict. It has strong relations with its neighbouring countries and is also a part of some international and UN organizations.
- Geneva is home to the second-largest of the four major office sites of the United Nations.
- The famous equation E=MC2 was devised by Albert Einstein in 1905, while he was in Switzerland.
- The large Hadron Collider in the world’s largest particle physics laboratory – CERN – is in Switzerland. It has been established under the ground.
- The world’s largest nuclear shelter, the Sonnenberg Tunnel, is in Switzerland. It can house up to 20,000 individuals for an extended period of time during a nuclear emergency.
- Switzerland has enough underground bunker capacity that it can hide its entire population in case of a nuclear war.
- Switzerland’s defence is well prepared for the event of an attack. It has already deployed technology to block access via roads, bridges, and railways across 3000 locations.
- Men in Switzerland are required to keep the firearms they are issued during their military service at home even after they leave the military to have the countries men ready to mobilise in the event of a threat.
- Assisted suicide in Switzerland is legal. It is also legal in China, Belgium, Canada and other few countries. There is, however, different legislation regarding the circumstances under which this is legal.
- Switzerland provides nearly all CO2-friendly electricity to its citizens. 39% of electricity comes from nuclear power plants, while 56% is generated by hydroelectric power plants.
- A giant three-legged chair in Geneva, Switzerland is dedicated to the opposition of using land mines. It is known as “The Broken Chair.”
- 23% of Switzerland’s total population of almost 8 million consists of foreigners.
- The divorce rate in Switzerland is about 43%, and people marry late: men at the age of 31.8 years and women at 29.5 years.
- The average age for Swiss women to have their first child is 30.4 years, which makes them the oldest women in Europe to do so.
- Switzerland: the best place in the world to be born, according to a recent quality-of-life index.
- Highly skilled people form the basis for Switzerland’s economy. Sectors such as banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, microtechnology, etc. employ these skilled people.
- It is funny to note that there are more banks in the Switzerland than dentists.
- Half of the luxury watches produced in the world come from Switzerland. Brands like Tissot, TAG Heuer, Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Longines are all Swiss.
- The first waterproof watch was invented by Rolex in 1927 in Switzerland.

You can find more fun facts on my previous posts:
fun-facts-about-switzerland
more-fun-facts-about-switzerland

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A miniature Swiss National Day Orchestra

If there is any area in the world of stability, it is Switzerland - a symbol of prestige, prosperity, the country with the reliable banks, spectacular ski resorts, delicious food and the best watches in the world!

Back in 2013, after months of crafting miniature instruments and training by using watchmaking tools to play them, a luxury Swiss watch manufacturer presented its very own Swiss National Day orchestra.

IWC is located in Schaffhausen and founded by American engineer and watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones in 1868.


Discover the secret skills of IWC's watchmakers, conducted by none other than IWC Ambassador and Master Watchmaker, Kurt Klaus.
Happy National Swiss Day!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The history of Swiss National Day

August 1st is considered the date of the Swiss National Day. On this day, all cities will be decorated with flags, celebrations will be held in the evening through the streets with traditional coloured lanterns. Colourful fireworks and bonfires will light up the sky over the country. All of Switzerland will hold performances with dances, music, and songs, complemented by a solemn performance of the National anthem.

Switzerland celebrates its holiday in the country's four National languages: Bundesfeiertag (German),  Jour de la Fête National (French), Giorno Della Festa Nazionale (Italian) and Di da la Fiesta National (Romansch).


The tradition to celebrate it on the first day of August goes into the distant 1291, when, as legend has it, the Alpine republic was founded.

The name is received from Schwyz, one of the three cantons which together formed a confederacy. The base of the Swiss government refers to 1291 when representatives from the cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden met on the shores of Lake Lucerne to conclude a protective union against to the powerful House of Habsburg.

According to legend, on the first day of August, a sacred oath (Rütlischwur) of three was given in which each of the three cantons promised each other to come to the aid in the fight against external enemies.

Soon other cities and regions joined in order to maintain their independence. Since 1891, August 1st is celebrated throughout the country as the anniversary of the Nation's creation.

By the way, the word «oath» in German is Eid, and the full name of the Alpine republic in German is the Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft. However, not all historians share this interpretation.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Don't miss 1. August brunch!

Celebrate Switzerland's National Day with a traditional Farmer's Brunch. It is a family event not to be missed. For the past 24 years Swiss farmers have been inviting city dwellers (Swiss and foreign alike) for brunch on their farms. Last year 350 farms all across the country welcomed over 140'000 guests.

Hosted by selected Swiss farms who offer you a brunch, they will provide you with the opportunity to taste different kinds of home-made cheese, meat, milk, bread, Birchermüesli and many other gastronomic specialities in a very particular atmosphere.

You'll have the certainty of trying some excellent high quality products. If you're lucky you'll enjoy some typical Swiss music, meet a Swiss celebrity, be served out of a giant Roesti frying pan or admire some amazing National costumes. The kids will love all the direct contact with the farms' animals.


Book now for a brunch in one of the farms! Click here to find a list of Ticino's participating farmers.

My favourite so far is: Alpe Duragno at the top of Monte Tamaro. See purple trail on map. My friends recommend the farms on top of Monte Generoso. Capanna Cava is worth a mention as well. I would be curious to hear about your favourite sites.

As places in the farms are limited, registration is mandatory and better done early. You can register by telephoning or e-mailing the farmers directly before July 30th 2017. There are still quite a few spots left as of this morning. Please communicate how many children and adults you'll be.

Venue: 1.August Brunch
When: Monday, August 1st, 2017
Time: 9:00 - 13:00
Price: CHF 25.- to 40.-
Directions: All participating farms will be signposted with the logo: «Brunch»
For more info: Tel: 056 462 52 10 on workdays from 10:00 bis 12:00 and from 14.00 to 16:00
E-Mail: info@brunch.ch
Homepage: www.brunch.ch


Far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the beautiful Swiss countryside and fine Swiss products can be enjoyed not only on August 1st. Numerous farm families offer brunch at their farms even during the year. On the Swiss farmers' brunch-search or on www.vomhof.ch, you'll find all the farms that offer brunches throughout the year!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Carona's groovy municipal pool

A big fan of the hot temperatures, I also love to suntan... if I can combine the two AND make my kids happy... even better! One of my favourite outings on a hot summer day is to take the yellow post bus to visit the charming town of Carona and enjoy discounted admission to the public swimming-pool with PostBus ticket.

Set in lush green surroundings and with idyllic views, the Carona open air sports complex is perfect for relaxing the body and mind.

It offers a well-kept Olympic size pool for healthy swims and plenty of space for keeping children entertained including two kiddy pools and a playground. In addition to water sports, you can relax over a game of table tennis or mini-golf.

A wide range of dining facilities is available near the pool comprising a bar, restaurant and pizzeria. The pizzeria and restaurant are also open in the evening after the swimming pool closes.

From Monday to Friday, the swimming pool organises a range of activities at the sports centre including diving, beach volleyball, aqua gym, swimming courses for all levels, photography courses and massages.

A barbecue operates throughout the day and as of 6 p.m. there is a musical happy hour with special percussion evenings.

This place is ideal to escape from the hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in total relaxation.

For more details about Carona pool click here: http://www.lugano.ch/piscina-carona.
For details about how to get to Carona by PostBus click here: https://www.postauto.ch/en/timetable

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Where is home?

Does this question hit home? What do your children answer to this question?


More and more people worldwide are living in countries not considered their own. Writer Pico Iyer -- who himself has three or four “origins” -- meditates on the meaning of home, the joy of traveling and the serenity of standing still.

This TED Talk today by travel writer Pico Iyer really struck a cord with me. He described how many global nomads take “pieces of many different places” and put them together to form a sense of home that is a “stained glass whole”.

He then went on to explain: "For more and more of us, home has really less to do with a piece of soil than, you could say, with a piece of soul."

If you have a moment, this video is worth watching. Home is definitely work in progress in our case.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Swiss feel at home abroad

For the third year in a row, Expat Insider — one of the largest expat surveys worldwide — offers an in-depth analysis of everyday expat life in more than 60 countries across the globe. More than 14,000 respondents representing 174 nationalities and 191 countries or territories took part and had their say on moving, living, and working abroad. 


The survey covers a wide range of topics, including basic facts about demographic data and the moving process. It focuses on participants’ happiness with a variety of factors related to their country of residence and personal life abroad.

The typical Swiss expat has lived in many countries, speaks multiple languages, and often has a lower income abroad.

- Swiss expats often move abroad for love
- 36% want to stay in their host country forever
- 19% have lived in five or more countries
- No one only speaks their native tongue
- 31% earn a lot less than they would back home

Would you agree with these findings?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Explore the region with a Ticino ticket

With Ticino Ticket you will be free to travel and visit every corner of the southernmost Canton of Switzerland.

A steep climb on a cable car to take advantage from a breathtaking view, a romantic boat ride, the visit of unique museums in a culturally and artistically rich land, or some hours of relax and entertainment at the Lido, at the Falconry or at the Swissminiatur.

All of this is possible thanks to Ticino Ticket, which allows guests staying in a hotel, youth hostel or camping site to benefit from free public transport in the whole Canton. It also ensures discounts on cable cars, navigation and main tourist attractions.

Eleven public transport companies that cover a network of 1,471 kilometers have been involved. Ticino is the biggest tourism-oriented region in Switzerland to introduce such a ticket. It will be valid from Chiasso to Airolo, in a particularly extended and diversified area that ranges from urban settings such as the cities of Lugano and Locarno to the more remote valleys.

Art, culture, history, entertainment and…spectacular scenic routes. Ticino Ticket will ensure you a 30% discount on certain services of more than 30 tourist attractions.

Lulled by delicate waves of the lake, there is nothing quite like the emotion of a boat trip. Ticino Ticket will open the doors of navigation on the Lugano Lake with a discount of 25% on the day pass.

Close your eyes and imagine all you can discover in the lovely Ticino area.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Ticino Street food

Looking for a true Ticino culinary experience? Head to Melide this Saturday, July 15th.


Sapori e Dissapori's young and dynamic team - after a good dose of life experiences around the world - realised that the Canton Ticino has a great deal of variety and quality to offer in the culinary sector.

So they rolled up their sleeves and decided to embark on this project by creating a personalised compilation of the gastronomic delicacies that this charming region South of the Alps has to offer.

Sapori & Dissapori does not want to be a culinary guide packaged by professionals, but rather a free and fast tool created by enthusiasts, aimed at all gourmets who consider leaving the restaurant an essential element of good living.

In 2016, three years after having launched their blog platform, the saporiedissapori team decided to make a big step forward and have invested in building a more complete, user-friendly and attractive web site promoting Ticino's local delicacies.

The team made up of 100% of young Ticinesi, also created the Street Food Village which encountered such a  success they will be repeating the adventure again this year.

If you want to taste a true local meal don't miss the Polenta, the Lunganighetta and many more scrumptious dishes this Saturday while enjoying a stroll along the lakeside.

Venue: Street Food Village
Where: Lungolago di Melide
When: Saturday, July 15th, 2017
Time: 11:00 - 23:00
https://www.saporiedissapori.ch/street-food-village-melide/

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July to all my American readers.

These bright and delicious fruit skewers were inspired by the American flag and are super easy to make. Try the simple recipe below to make a patriotic treat perfect for Independence Day.


Ingredients:
12 wooden bamboo skewers
1 pound strawberries
6 ounces blueberries
3 bananas
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (or orange juice)

Preparation:
1.) Rinse and dry berries. Chop the stems off strawberries, then cut into halves from stem to point. Cut the point off strawberries and set aside.
2.) Slice bananas and set aside.
3.) In a bowl, mix water and lemon juice, then place banana slices in lemon water and coat both sides to prevent browning.
4.) Starting with the blueberries, skewer about six on top and alternate between two banana slices and one strawberry slice until you reach the end.
5.) Place on a platter and keep refrigerated until serving.
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